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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween 7s: Falcons, Hawks Fall Short

Both the Hawks and the Falcons came up short at the Halloween 7s as Argentina would take the final over Canada. While they didn't necessarily play up to their own standards, both Argentina and Canada seemed more able to handle the hot conditions on their way to the final. In the semi-finals the Falcons fell to the Maple Leafs 22-17 in sudden death while the Hawks lost to Argentina 15-0.

The Falcons found themselves down 5-0 in their semi-final match as a great pass from Nanyak Dala set up Justin Douglas for the try just a minute in. Still, the Falcons showed the same great composure they had all weekend and rebounded with Seth Halliman showing a great burst of speed for the score. With the conversion the Falcons led 7-5. They would then go ahead 12-5 at halftime when Andrew Durutalo intercepted a lazy pass from Dala and offloaded to Will Holder for the try.

The second half saw Ben Pinkelman showing why he is considered a big time prospect for the Eagles going forward when he took a quick tap, shook off several defenders, and then found Holder with an offload for the try. With five minutes to go the Falcons led 17-5.

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Still, the Maple Leafs used all their experience gained from playing on the Series and their fitness to get back into the match. Good work at the breakdown sprung John Moonlight for a try and then Douglas added his second with a minute remaining. Nathan Hirayama's conversion weaved it's way through the posts to knot the match up at 17-17. Canada nearly had a try in the final seconds but had to wait until sudden death when Phil Mack shrugged off defenders to score the winning try.

In the other semi-final, it only took Argentina a few seconds to take a 5-0 lead over the Hawks. It started with a penalty on Matai Leuta and was finished when Renzo Barbier scored in the corer. Handling wasn't great for the Eagles and it let them down on multiple chances. Fortunately for the Hawks Argentina similarly couldn't take advantage of their opportunities and only led at the half 5-0.

The difference in the second half was that the Hawks continued to play sloppy at times. Argentina would score again to push the lead to 10-0 and with the Hawks pushing late in the match were able to score a late try for the 15-0 win.

Even though both the Hawks and the Falcons missed out on the Cup final there was still plenty on the line as they met for the Plate. For the Falcons it was an opportunity to show Mike Friday that they deserve to be in the team while for the Hawks it was an opportunity to show why they were put on the first time.

It took a couple of minutes but the Hawks would get on the board first. Maka Unufe, who returned from a suspension suffered on day one, made a break before offloading to Perry Baker for a try and a 5-0 lead. However, the Falcons struck back in impressive fashion as Will Holder made a great intercept to roll in for the try. He would make the conversion to give the Falcons the 7-5 lead.

The Hawks would respond quickly. Showing great ball handling and work at the ruck the Hawks made several back and forth passes that led to a try by Peter Tiberio. Unfortunately for the Hawks Pat Blair would go to the bin for a high tackle just before the half. They nearly capitalized with a run by Seth Halliman but Matai Leuta was there to cover.

The second half opened with the Hawks pressuring. However, the Falcons defense came up big, earning a turnover. Taking the quick tap a series of nice passes worked out to ConRoy Smith who sped in for the try and to knot the score up at 12-12.

The deadlock was broken with roughly two minutes left. Capitalizing on yet another turnover the Hawks once again put in great passing to see Tiberio pick up his second try. He also made the conversion to push the score to 19-12. The Falcons would have one final opportunity but were judged to have held on ending the match.

In the Cup final, Fernando Luna scored first for Argentina as they would go on to win 38-12. Sean Duke would grab a try back for Canada but Argentina would score immediately there after. Douglas would score a late try to make the half-time interval 14-12. The second half belonged to Argentina with Santiago Alvarex, Rodrigo Etchart, and Axel Muller all scoring tries.

The Bowl final saw New York and Ohio go head to head. New York found themselves in the match after beating Rugby Utah 24-10 in the semi-finals while Ohio beat Denver 17-15. Given the results from day one that result could be viewed as a slight upset.

In the final it was all New York as they went on to win 41-5. Ohio struck first through great ball movement and retention that say Ryan Cochran cross over. Still, it was New York's day and they took the lead after a great run from Eric Deuchle. Dylan Carrion would then show his pace to go under the post for a long range try. Ohio wouldn't help their case by getting a player sent to the bin and that would allow Chris Frazier to score another try for New York to give them a 19-5 halftime lead.

The second half was more of the same with Haitsuka scoring straight from the opening kick. Another Ohio player being set to the bin would be the end of the match as Frazier, Haitsuka, and the Harry Higgins would score.

While Mike Friday and company will be disappointed that neither the Falcons or the Hawks were able to compete the final they did gain a lot out of the tournament. For players getting ready to play in Dubai in a month they understood they need to up their level of play. For players knocking on the door they know what they need to do to reach the next level. The same goes for the ODA players. All in all, the Halloween 7s provided players and opportunity to grow and get in solid game time. A win would have been nice but you couldn't ask for much more. Here's to hoping this tournament happens again next year.

1 comment:

  1. Nice to see Tiberio back and being a play maker.